Rachel Schuck is earning her Ph.D. from the Education Department with an emphasis in Special Education, Disability, and Risk Studies. Her research interests center around exploring the social validity of intervention and education programs for those on the autism spectrum, particularly from the autistic perspective. She is also interested in parent involvement in educational activities for children with disabilities and works as a clinician at the Koegel Autism Center. Prior to starting at UCSB in 2019, she earned a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley in 2011 and an MA in Special Education from San Jose State in 2017 and worked for over five years in the Autism & Developmental Disorders Research Program at Stanford.

GGSE: What one thing about your research do you wish you could share with more people?
Rachel Schuck: I'd like to share how important it is for researchers and clinicians to listen to the perspectives of autistic people.

GGSE: Tell us about one of your fondest GGSE memories.
Schuck: One of my favorite memories is actually from the accepted students day that happened the spring before my first quarter. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, which had a huge impact on my decision to come to UCSB.

GGSE: What's next for you?
Schuck: I'm going to be starting as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Post-Secondary Education at San Diego State University. One of the projects I'll be working on is a national study to develop self-report outcome measures for autistic people that are accessible and relevant to the autistic community.

GGSE: Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?
Schuck: I hope to still be doing academic research!

GGSE: Are there people at the Gevirtz School you would like to thank?
Schuck: So many people! My adviser, Professor Rachel Lambert, has had a huge impact on my understanding of neurodiversity and disability, which I deeply appreciate. I also would like to thank Professor Andy Maul for making advanced quantitative methods accessible and giving me the confidence to use them in my dissertation. Thank you as well to Professor Mian Wang for supporting me before I even started at UCSB. And I absolutely have to thank my friends and fellow grad students Kaitlynn Penner Baiden and Tomy Nguyen. I have lived in LA for most of graduate school, but these two were never more than a text message away. And finally, a huge thanks to my research assistants and to everyone who participated in my research studies!

Rachel Schuck